Cate Le Bon: Cyrk II EP Review
When Cate Le Bon’s Cyrk came out last year, I complained a bit that it wasn’t the record I was hoping to hear. And that was largely due to the fact that everything I liked about Le Bon’s debut Me Oh My (namely jangly, psychedelic coziness) had been retooled in favor of a more hook-friendly pop sound. Well, it turns out that I was wrong – Le Bon did actually record the album I wanted to hear. The problem is, most of it died on the cutting room floor in favor of what ended up on Cyrk. The remainder will be released as an EP tomorrow, Cyrk II. And listening to it for the first time I found myself crying, “Aha! This is what I was hoping for in the first place!”
Cyrk II is everything that I first came to love about Le Bon’s sound – unusual, dissonant melodies, jangly, de-tuned guitar strumming, and Le Bon’s Welsh-accented singing. It’s Welsh acid-folk rock with far fewer modern pop trappings. Le Bon’s formidable guitar playing takes dexterous and unexpected turns, synths and the occasional chime provide surreal accents, and Le Bon’s moody turns-of-phrase seem much more in balance with the non-linearity of the mood that each song conveys. Whether it’s “January”s elegant simplicity, “That Moon”s somber velvety restraint that always seems on the brink of a meltdown, or “Seaside”s slow evolution into guitar squalor: Cyrk II’s consistent factor is that each gorgeous melody is crafted out of unusual patchworks of notes and patterns.
— Jon Behm
Cyrk II will be available via the Control Group tomorrow.